AN EXTRA one million Australians holidayed in Queensland last year - but a tiny fraction made it to our region.
But a Queensland tourism expert believes Gladstone can improve its tourism prospects.
A reported on Thursday showed 18 million people travelled to Queensland in 2012, jumping 6% on the previous year.
Just under two million people made it to Central Queensland.
University of Queensland tourism lecturer Dr Gabrielle Walters said Gladstone could imitate Victoria's LaTrobe Valley to boost visitor numbers.
"That area was well-known for its coal-fired power stations, but research found that was not a deterrent to tourism," she said.
Dr Walters said the Gladstone community needed to push the region as a desirable destination.
"It's a matter of community pride - the worst thing you can do as a community is be ashamed of what you have."
Dr Walters will address the GAPDL Futures Summit in Gladstone next month.
Meanwhile, new domestic visitor figures have revealed a strong increase in domestic overnight visits to the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Intrastate holiday visits eased in 2012, compared to near-record levels achieved in 2011.
Gladstone also saw a strong increase in intrastate travel trips for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives, which helped to offset declines in holiday and business travel.